Marketing

Email Marketing Newsletter - December 2022

December is your chance to close out Q4 on a positive note and keep that momentum going into the new year.

Nick Flint - Email Marketing Strategist
December 1, 2022
Marketing

December Newsletter

While Santa is saying ho, ho, ho, all of us in the ecom world are saying go, go, go!

December is your chance to close out Q4 on a positive note and keep that momentum going into the new year.

Over the past year we’ve seen some changes in the email + SMS landscape, so this is a must-read to make sure you’re keeping your strategy up to date.

Ideas To Implement This Month:

Holiday Cutoffs + Messaging:

Since we’re entering the biggest gift-giving season, you’ll want to focus some of your energy and efforts on planting that seed. Most of the year people are shopping for themselves, so it makes sense that the product page messaging and ads are all about the benefits for the consumer.

Now is your chance to flip that and throw in a few emails focusing on how your products are the PERFECT gift, and make it easy for them to sort through your site to find the best gift.

If you have the capabilities to offer gift wrapping, order notes, or gift cards, give those value props their own callouts within your campaigns.

You’ll also want to take the chance to let them know if you have a cutoff date for ordering their gifts. Some of the best performing campaigns we’ve made revolve around the “last day for guaranteed delivery” theme.

Our Top Campaigns From 2022:

The same messages brands were sending years ago just won’t cut it in today’s competitive landscape. Just like your Facebook ads have evolved, your content email and SMS content should too. Here’s some specific types of email that performed the best for our clients this year.

Asking Questions: Make your customers feel like they’re a part of your brand! Make your question seem authentic, because if they feel included, they’re more likely to spread the word about how much they love your products.

Asking these questions also comes with another crucial bonus – boosting future deliverability. When they reply to your emails, it sends signals to the email providers saying “people want to hear from us so much that they actually respond to our emails”. This will help you like in the primary inbox in the future.


Question Examples:

Car Maintenance Brand: We developed a campaign giving their customers some tips on how to get their car to 1,000,000 miles, and we concluded it with “how many miles does your car have?”

Brick & Mortar Store With Beer On Tap: The subject line for this one was “open this email if you love beer”, and it got a TON of interaction. Asked them what’s their favorite type of beer and added in some multiple choice options to make it easy for them to respond.

Beauty Brand: They were launching a new shade of lipstick so we asked “what should we call this shade?”

We added in a $100 prize if their shade suggestion was chosen, and people flooded their inbox with creative name ideas for the shade.

Subject Line Winners:

This is one of my favorite segments from these monthly updates. Whenever I’m drafting a new campaign, I like to guess which one will perform the best before I send it out, and sometimes, I'm even surprised by the winner!

Add some A/B tests to your upcoming campaigns to see what your customers respond best to. 

P.S. - If you want to learn more about the strategies we use here at OMG Commerce, listen to our recent episode of eCommerce Evolution where Brett & I took a deep dive into the topic.

Here are some of the recent tests we ran, along with which one was the most successful.

*The / in the subject lines is the break between the subject line and preview text

#1 - Automotive Brand

A.) Buy One, Get One FREE 🎉

B.) Your BOGO Deal Awaits


Variation A had higher open AND clicks rates. Usually we recommend staying away from all caps in the subject line, but it’s okay to emphasize certain words to help them stand out. For this brand, we’ll continue to test out the capitalization, the emphasis of “FREE” and emojis to see which part of that subject line stood out.



#2 - Beauty Brand

It’s not just subject lines that you should be testing, but content as well!


For this brand we tested sending out 3 tutorials in an emails vs. sticking to just 1

A.) 3 tutorials within the email

B.) 1 tutorial within the email


We got more clicks by having 3 tutorials in the email! Luckily, this brand produces a ton of binge-worthy content that their customers love watching, this is a strategy we can continue to use in the future.



#3  - Supplement Brand


A.) Your workouts will never be the same {{ first_name }}

B.) You have to see our brand new preworkout {{ first_name }}


Even with both subject lines containing the customer’s name, variation A proved to be the winner! This reasserts our strategy of keeping the focus on the customer and what’s in it for them, verses on the brand.

Upcoming Holidays:

Here are some upcoming events that you can plan your campaigns around. If you want to grab the template we use to plan our emails, here is the link for you.

December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities #IDPWD

December 4: National Cookie Day #NationalCookieDay

December 5: World Soil Day #WorldSoilDay

December 6: Microwave Oven Day #MicrowaveOvenDay

December 8: Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day #PretendToBeATimeTravelerDay

December 9: National Salesperson Day (Second Friday of December) #SalespersonDay

December 10: Human Rights Day #HumanRightsDay

December 10: Nobel Prize Day #NobelPrize

December 11: International Mountain Day #InternationalMountainDay

December 21: Crossword Puzzle Day #CrosswordPuzzleDay

December 21: First Day of Winter (Varies between December 20-23 each year) #WinterSolstice

December 24: Christmas Eve #ChristmasEve

December 25: Christmas #Christmas

December 27: No Interruptions Day #NoInterruptionsDay

December 31: New Year’s Eve #NYE

Amazon Brand Management

Amazon Customer Engagement Tool Best Practices

Have you started using Amazon’s Customer Engagement Tool? This FREE resource can help you reach more customers!

The OMG Amazon Team
November 9, 2022
Amazon Ads

Manage Your Customer Engagement

Manage Your Customer Engagement (MYCE) lets you engage directly with your Amazon customers. MYCE helps your brand build loyal relationships with Amazon customers and helps increase visibility of your products. Essentially what this tool does is provide an email marketing tool free of charge to help with Amazon customer engagement. Watch this 1 minute video from Amazon 

The Manage Your Customer Engagement program currently supports new product announcements, 7-day deal details, and gift event guides. More creative options will be added in the future.

Who has access?

Registered brands that have an Amazon Stores page with Brand Followers. 

  • Visit Amazon Brand Registry to see if you are eligible to register your brand. Once you are registered, you can create a Stores page.  
  • How to increase Brand Followers:  Create an Amazon post that features quality content to increase followers. See OMG’s Amazon Posts Best PracticesAmazon Live gives you the ability to interact with shoppers live on Amazon & is another way to increase your brand followers.

How to access MYCE

Seller Central > Brands > Customer Engagement

Email Campaign setup

  1. Shopping Event Selection: theme options that update the visual style of the email, providing engaging and timely content. (ex. Halloween theme)
    a. Selecting a theme gives your email header a different, seasonal color and allows you to choose a seasonal banner that is otherwise not optional.
  2. Featured Product Selection:
    a. New Products: Make sure your followers are the first to know about new product launches! 
    b. Promotions: Enter the ASIN of your primary product & the option to add promo details will pop-up if available.
    i. To feature promo details on the select product, currently 7-day deal promotions are eligible.  Promos must be created 24 hrs in advance of campaign setup. Promo must have an end date of 6-days or more from your campaign start date. You will only be able to select eligible promotional details when you enter a primary campaign ASIN and click “Submit”.
  3. Supporting Image: Lifestyle image that explains the benefits of the product
    a. TIP: Check which lifestyle image
  4. Supporting Products: Can add up to 4 supporting products
  5. Schedule: Your campaign will be sent in the 5-day period starting on the date you select, subject to several restrictions.
    a. Keep in mind Amazon takes at a minimum 72 hours to approve your campaign.
    b. When selecting a date, you will see several colors indicating potential conflict:
    i. Gray dates: un-selectable (Need to give Amazon a 6-day period to moderate campaign & to prepare to send to customers)
    ii. Green dates: Selectable
    iii. Yellow: Selectable, but will have an overlap with another campaign
  6. Configure your email campaign settings: (little to no customization right now)
    a. Subject Line:  Amazon gives you a limited number of pre-set subject lines to choose from.
    i. To help you stand out in the inbox, we recommend using the ones with the dynamic name block feature = [Customer Name]
    ii. If you change the email theme from the "default product" option to any of the holiday themes, it will open up more subject line opportunities for you to choose from
    b. Section Header: visible test that appears at the top of the email body (ex. New product from a Brand you follow)
    c. Brand Logo:  3:1 horizontal layout white background JPG or transparent background PNG
    d. Email Header: Chose between white or black
    e. Name your campaign: This will not be visible to the customer

 Beta! Customer Engagement:  Tailored Audiences

With customer engagement’s tailored audiences, you can select an audience of customers to receive your campaign. Engaging specific audiences of customers with relevant content will form stronger customer relationships and improve engagement.

How can I access tailored audiences?

Tailored audiences is currently in beta and is available to a limited number of brands based on previous customer engagement campaign engagement. We are actively expanding the beta to more brands.

To be eligible for tailored audiences, your brand must have:

  • Sent 10 or more customer engagement campaigns with at least 1000 total emails sent over the last 10 campaigns
  • Average opt out to click rate less than 1% over the last 10 customer engagement campaigns
  • Note: To calculate your average opt out to click rate, calculate the number of clicks that each campaign had by multiplying the 

‘Emails delivered’ by its ‘CTR’ (Click through rate), and divide the sum of all clicks in your most recent 10 campaigns by the total ‘Emails delivered’ in those campaigns.

Which customers will receive my campaigns?

Additional Amazon details on Tailored Audiences

Other helpful links:

Example Email

Marketing

BFCM Email Marketing Tips and Tricks

Let’s face it, November is one of the busiest months for ecom owners. I like to think of this month as the ecom equivalent of a hell week.

Nick Flint
November 1, 2022
Marketing

November Email Marketing Newsletter

Welcome to November, and to my brethren growing out their moustaches for charity this month, a very happy Movember to you!

Let’s face it, November is one of the busiest months for ecom owners. I like to think of this month as the ecom equivalent of a hell week.

There’s going to be sleepless nights, unexpected issues will arise, and your mental strength will undoubtedly be put to the test.

But, just like with any hell week, at the end of this month is a nice reward, aka that juicy boost in revenue from BFCM.

In order to become a well-trained ecom warrior, what can be done to prep for this month?

Here’s a few tips to set you up for your best BFCM ever.

Ideas To Implement This Month:

Adjust Your Flows:

When you have a big sale like this, make sure your flows reflect the wording of your sale and push the urgency factor.

Your standard “10% off abandoned cart email” just won’t cut it when you’re having a sitewide 30% off sale.

Here’s the easiest and most efficient way to do this:

Clone your abandoned cart/browse abandonment/welcome flows.

Adjust the wording of these new flows to talk about Black Friday and mention any codes or order deadlines. I also like to cut down on the delays between emails to target the customer more frequently.

Then when it’s time for your sale to kick off, pause your other flows and activate these new ones.

Once BFCM is over, you can switch back to your original ones (but save the updated ones for future sales)!

The Same Goes For Your PopUps:

Don’t forget about these! I like to keep the focus of the popups on the sale and keep the customer on the site (instead of directing them to their inbox to get a discount code).

You can still have your popups enabled to continue to collect phone numbers/emails, but at the end screen direct them to start shopping with their discount.

Make sure you update the list that this popup will flow into, and direct it to the new Black Friday welcome series you created!

The Power Of The Resend:

Resending emails is a good practice to get into, especially when it comes to any big announcement or special promo that you’re running. Coming up with multiple email campaigns over the course of BFCM can be a daunting task, especially with everything else you’ll be focusing on.


After you send out your initial email, clone it and create 2 variations to send later that day/the following day.

Clone #1 - Non Openers: Update your subject line with a completely new theme. If your first one was “Black Friday Starts NOW”, put a different spin on this one with something like “Make sure you don’t miss this {{ first_name }}” or “Get hero product name for the lowest price ever

Clone #2 - Opened, Didn’t Purchase: In this email, you’ll need to take a step back. They opened, maybe even clicked your email, but they didn’t make a purchase… what stopped them? Try to think of another angle other than “we’re having a sale” to get them to convert. Did you recently launch some new products, is stock low, is the sale ending soon, can you ship the same day, is there a free gift with their order? Take any of those value props, and include them in that next email to try to win them over.

Subject Line Winners:

One of the easiest A/B tests to set up is a subject line test. If you want to learn more about the strategies we use here at OMG Commerce, listen to this episode of eCommerce Evolution where Brett & I took a deep dive into the topic.

Here are a few of the subjects we tested out in October and how you can apply them to your emails.

*The / in the subject lines is the break between the subject line and preview text

#1 - Car Accessory Brand

A.) Join Our Facebook Group

B.) You’re Invited


B was our winner! That variation also had a higher percentage of clicks. Their curiosity was piqued when they say that they were invited to something. They had to know what that something was, so they opened the email to find out.



#2 - Beauty Brand

A.) 17-Free Formulation | Beautiful Nails Without Compromise / Vegan and cruelty-free nail polish

B.) What makes our nail polish special? / 17-Free Formulation | Vegan | Cruelty-Free


B was the winner for this campaign! I like to ask questions, including in the subject lines. Something like “Wait, the Ravens won by how much?!” is much more clickable than “The Ravens beat the Buccaneers 27-22 last night”.

From a readability standpoint, breaking up quick points with the “|” makes it faster for your customer to digest.



#3  - Holiday Gifts Brand


This test was slightly different from the others you’ve read so far. We were trying out some different sender names to see if the customers responded better to one or the other.

A.) Sender Name = Brand

B.) Sender Name = Owner @ Brand


A was actually our winner here! I would have thought differently, which is why we test things out! 

Try this out for your brand, I think the results will vary based on how forward facing the owner is. If it was an email from “Twitter” versus “Elon @ Twitter”, those results could have been very different.

Upcoming Holidays:

Here are some upcoming events that you can plan your campaigns around. If you want to grab the template we use to plan our emails, here is the link for you.

November 1: National Authors Day #NationalAuthorsDay

November 1: World Vegan Day #WorldVeganDay

November 1: National Cook For Your Pets Day #CookForYourPetsDay

November 2: National Stress Awareness Day (First Wednesday of November) #StressAwarenessDay

November 3: National Sandwich Day #NationalSandwichDay

November 4: National Candy Day #NationalCandyDay

November 6: Daylight Saving Time Ends (First Sunday of November) #DaylightSavings

November 8: National Cappuccino Day #CappuccinoDay

November 8: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine (STEM) Day #STEMDay

November 11: Veterans Day #VeteransDay

November 13: World Kindness Day #WKD

November 14: World Diabetes Day #WDD

November 15: Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day #CleanOutYourRefrigeratorDay

November 15: America Recycles Day #BeRecycled

November 15: National Entrepreneurs Day (Third Tuesday of November) #EntrepreneursDay

November 16: International Day for Tolerance #ToleranceDay

November 17: International Students Day #InternationalStudentsDay

November 19: International Men’s Day #InternationalMensDay

November 20: Universal Children’s Day #UNChildrensDay

November 21: World Hello Day #WorldHelloDay

November 24: Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday of November) #Thanksgiving

November 24: Black Friday (Day after Thanksgiving) #BlackFriday

November 25: National Day of Listening (the day after Thanksgiving) #DayOfListening

November 26: National Cake Day #NationalCakeDay

November 26: Small Business Saturday (Last Saturday of November) #ShopSmall

November 28: Cyber Monday (Monday following Thanksgiving)#CyberMonday

November 29: Electronic Greeting Card Day #ElectronicGreetingCardDay

November 30: Computer Security Day #ComputerSecurityDay

Now let’s make like a tortilla and wrap this up! I wish you all a smooth, fruitful, headache free BFCM. But you might want to grab some Advil, just in case :)


P.S. - To keep getting these updates, make sure you enter your email address below. With each new subscriber, these updates will keep getting better and better.

Marketing

Conquer Your Email Marketing This Month

These newsletters will serve as your monthly mentor for all things email + SMS marketing. I might even throw in some other nifty tips I pick up along the way as I explore the eComm

Nick Flint - OMG Email Marketing Strategist
October 1, 2022
Marketing

Conquer Your Email Marketing This Month

Welcome to our first edition of "No fluff, all the right stuff, email news!" Alright, that title desperately needs some workshopping, but there's a hurricane heading my way, and I need to finish up before my wifi goes bye-bye.

These newsletters will serve as your monthly mentor for all things email + SMS marketing. I might even throw in some other nifty tips I pick up along the way as I explore the eComm ecosystem. So grab your goggles and your floaty because we're diving in.

Ideas To Implement This Month:

Klaviyo + Google Ads Integration:

Klaviyo recently announced its new integration with Google Ads. You can get this set up in just a few minutes. Here's a more detailed overview of what it does, along with its integration guide. Set this up today to instantly sync your contacts to Google Ads to improve your targeting.

Start Collecting Emails + Phone Numbers For BFCM:

Your biggest sales day is right around the corner, so it's essential to start thinking about your strategy now. I recommend setting up an exit-intent popup letting your customers know that you have something big planned for them and that they can sign up to be the first ones to know about it.

I prefer setting it up as the exit-intent so it doesn't distract them from your initial popup offer on the way in. You can also set this up as an SMS-only popup to start capturing some phone numbers from customers you already have.

Test Out A Plain Text Email:

This has been a fun format to experiment with, and you'll be surprised by the results! Send out a simple email asking a question to your customer base to get their feedback. These types of emails will help you out for a few reasons:

1 - Boosting email deliverability to your customers. This will make you more likely to end up in their primary inbox in the future and help with deliverability to new email addresses you collect.

2 - It's valuable feedback for your brand. Ask about why they enjoy shopping with you, which product you should launch next, or what services they wish you offered. Use this info to help shape the future of your brand.

3 - Use these emails as a chance to build brand loyalty. Your customers will be even more dedicated to you since they'll feel like a part of the journey instead of just another customer. When they see that you just launched a flavor of coffee that they hand-selected, they'll be more likely to buy!

BONUS: For these questions, I like to use multiple choice answers to make it easier for them to answer. Instead of an open-ended question like "What flavor of coffee should we launch next?", I'll ask something like "Which one of these should we launch next?"

A - Pumpkin Spice Party
B - Blueberry Bonanza
C - Hangry Hazelnut
D - Something Else (Let Us Know)

Subject Line Winners:

A/B testing subject lines is a great way to see what your customers are most interested in. I dove deeper into subject lines on this episode of eCommerce Evolution if you want to learn more.

Here are a few of the subjects we tested out this month and my theory behind why each one won.

#1 - Nail Polish Brand

A.) Ditch the acetone, use this instead / Your nails will be MUCH healthier!

B.) You aren't still using acetone, are you? / Switch to this instead


B was our winner! I think there's just enough sass + that little bit of mystery in this subject line to entice them to open up the email.


#2 - Beach Apparel Brand

A.) It's time for a beach day 🏖️ / Grab your towels, let's go

B.) National Beach Day '22 / Come get your daily dose of vitamin sea


And our winner was… B! For this brand, we've noticed every time we toss a '22 in the subject line; it improves the open rates. Test out something like Black Friday '22 to see if it boosts your results as well.


#3  - Natural Supplement Brand

A.) Are you consuming enough of these key vitamins? / Studies show that most people aren't!

B.) 3 ways to supplement your vitamin intake 🌱 / Add these to your daily routine


Subject line A had the best open rates! I think saying "most people aren't" was enough of a challenge to get people to open up this email. They're curious if they are doing something correctly/incorrectly, and they want to open up the email to see which category they fall into.

Upcoming Holidays:

Here are some upcoming events that you can plan your campaigns around. If you want to grab the template we use to plan our emails, here is the link for you.


October 1: International Day of Older Persons #UNDOP

October 1: International Coffee Day #InternationalCoffeeDay

October 1: World Vegetarian Day #WorldVegetarianDay

October 2: International Day of Nonviolence #InternationalDayOfNonviolence

October 3: National Techies Day #TechiesDay

October 3: World Habitat Day (First Monday of October) #WorldHabitatDay

October 4: World Animal Day #WorldAnimalDay

October 4: National Taco Day #NationalTacoDay

October 5: World Teachers Day #WorldTeachersDay

October 7: World Smile Day (First Friday of October) #WorldSmileDay

October 10: World Mental Health Day #WorldMentalHeathDay

October 11: International Day of the Girl #DayOfTheGirl

October 13: World Sight Day (Second Thursday of October) #WorldSightDay

October 14: National Dessert Day #DessertDay

October 15: Global Handwashing Day #GlobalHandwashingDay

October 16: World Food Day #FoodDay

October 16: Bosses Day #BossesDay

October 17: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty #EndPoverty

October 20: World Statistics Day (Held every five years; it will next be celebrated in 2025) #StatisticsDay

October 21: Reptile Awareness Day #ReptileAwarenessDay

October 20: Get to Know Your Customers Day (Third Thursday of October) #GetToKnowYourCustomersDay

October 24: United Nations Day #UNDay

October 25: Greasy Foods Day #GreasyFoodsDay

October 30: National Publicist Day #NationalPublicistDay

October 30: Checklist Day #ChecklistDay

October 31: Halloween #Halloween



That wraps up this month's edition of email news! Make sure you enter your email address below so you can get the newest tips & tricks for next month. It'll be a big one with BFCM kicking off in November!

Marketing

7 Ad Copy Tests to Create Compelling Ads

Wouldn’t it be awesome to know if your next ad was going to be a hit or a dud BEFORE you spent money on it?

Brett Curry
September 26, 2022
Google Ads
Amazon Ads
YouTube

Make Sure Your Ads Pass these tests BEFORE you spend a dime on them

Wouldn’t it be awesome to know if your next ad was going to be a hit or a dud BEFORE you spent money on it? 

Putting thousands of dollars behind your ad campaign and waiting for results is nerve wracking. Knowing if your ad will work before you hit the launch button would be a total game changer. 

Well, bad news. That’s not possible. Sorry, not what you were expecting here? 

There is good news too. You can know enough to give yourself confidence that an ad is worth a test before you start shelling out ad dollars. 

If your ad can pass the tests outlined here, then it has a strong chance of success. Ultimately only the market decides what it wants. No one can fully predict what customers will respond to and what they will ignore. But we can give ourselves a fighting chance. 

In this post I want to point out some common pitfalls likely lurking in your video scripts, display ads, social ads and even your search ads. 

Here are 7 tests to help bring those potential pitfalls to light before you run your ads. These tests also give insights into what you need to change before running your ads. Be objective here as much as possible. 

1. Scratch-out, Write-in Test

This is one of my favorite tests and it’s pretty easy to be objective about it. The test goes like this. If your competitors could take your ad, scratch out your name and logo and drop in their name and logo would the ad still be valid? If the answer is yes, then your ad failed the test. 

Your ad should work for you and ONLY you. This test applies whether you’re building a Facebook ad, a YouTube ad or a Google search ad. Most ads go something like this - “our products were designed with you, our customer in mind. We use the best quality materials, we believe in fast shipping and we guarantee you’ll be happy.” 

So let’s apply the scratch-out, write-in test. Could a competitor grab that ad copy and use it for their own? Yep. Could a totally unrelated business grab that copy and use it as their own? Affirmative. Fail. 

Here are some ad examples that pass the test:

Native Deodorant - Over 50,000 5-star reviews. There are several natural deodorants on the market, but none can claim the number of 5-star reviews that NATVE can claim.

Purple mattress - passes the raw egg test. This is the test Purple Mattress made up to show that their mattress cradles and supports your body like no other mattress. Drop a 300+ lbs sheet of glass with raw eggs under it onto a purple mattress and the eggs don’t break. This ad ONLY works for Purple Mattress. 

BOOM! - 3 makeup sticks. It’s all you need.. Want a simple makeup routine? BOOM stick trio can replace your entire makeup bag. 

Exception - what if your competitors really can say the same thing as you? This happens, right? 

Some products are just pretty darn similar and true advantages are more in the eye of the beholder than they are obvious. Not every product has the equivalent of Purples raw egg test. 

If your competitors can say what you can say, then you need to say it better. Look for the intersection of what you do best and what your customer wants most. 

2. The Shrug Test

Does your ad or headline do little more than cause prospects to shrug? If so, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and go back to work. Years ago a local car dealership here in Missouri where I’m from had a brilliant idea. Or so they thought. 

They made their ads drop-dead simple. The headline of a billboard literally read - “we have new cars and trucks, please buy them.” While I admire someone trying something new, no one admired or responded to these ads. They sucked. And they were quickly abandoned. 

They caused nothing more than a shrug from customers. In some cases an eye roll. What do I care if you have cars you want me to buy? And saying please in this case is strange. Are you begging? Trying to guilt me into buying? Pass. 

If you watch the video ad and find your mind wandering at times or if you’re tempted to say “meh” or yawn, your ad is likely not ready for primetime. If your ad causes your target market to say “so what?” Then it’s time to keep writing. 

3. The Authenticity Test

Does the language in your ad ring true? Does your ad copy make customers nod in agreement or cock their head to the side in confusion. All customers are wondering if your product will be right for them in their situation. Everyone believes their situation is unique too. Does your ad make the right person perk up and say, “that’s for me!” the ad has to feel authentic. It has to speak your prospect’s language in order it order to feel authentic. 

Let’s consider an ad for a new men’s grooming kit. Here’s the storyline - “I didn’t get the promotion because I was at a party at my bosses house and my fingernails were too long. My boss noticed, seemed shocked at my appearance and passed me over for the raise. If only I had purchased the right finger nail clippers!” Pretty ridiculous, right? It for sure doesn’t ring true. It was a video ad that was supposed to be funny. But it doesn’t ring true to the audience. It’s not authentic enough to be believable and not outlandish enough to be funny. 

Compare this to Poopourhi’s example of having an unexpected bowel movement at your boyfriend's house and the embarrassment that goes with it. Relatable, and watchable. The target market will  see that and nod (or cringe) in agreement. 

Or, if we want to look at an over-the-top example, let’s consider the Axe body spray commercials of old. These ads were famous for depicting girls ravenously chasing boys who wore Axe body spray because it made them completely irresistible. It was very much exaggerated. Very much a joke, but was totally speaking the language of the target market. What’s the reason teenage boys do anything? Girls. Axe spoke to that in an outlandish way, but it was totally in the language of their target market.  

4. The Curiosity Test a.k.a. The Tell Me More Test

Just like a great concert or side splitting performance by a comedian, you should leave your audience wanting more. That way they’ll want to click to learn more. 

Getting the click is like getting the crowd to chant encore, encore! Well, maybe not that dramatic but you get the idea. Does the ad cause you to want to ask questions? Does it cause you to want to see a more detailed demo? 

Back when I was in full-time sales, a good indicator that a prospect was interested was if they were asking questions. If they ask questions it means they’re engaged and interested. Asking questions means they’re just trying to confirm if it’s right for them. If a prospect didn’t ask any questions it usually meant they were ready to move on. They were maybe just too nice to say so directly. 

Show your ad to a prospect. Does it prompt questions that indicate they want to know more? Not questions of confusion, but questions of will this work for me? 

Take Torque Detail’s ad that says your car could look like this and it takes less time than your morning commute. You could have this awesome benefit without spending hours cleaning your car. If you’re into cars, you’ll likely start asking questions like: how do I apply it? Can I see a demo? How long will it last? All questions that mean - tell me more. If your prospect is asking questions like these, you’ve got a great chance at closing the deal. 

5. The Lingering Objections Test

What are the 2-3 biggest reasons someone would say no to buying your product? 

Are they worried about price? Are they concerned about longevity? Are they wondering about a specific application? You can’t say everything about your product. And as we established with the last test, you don’t want to anyway. You want to leave them wanting to know more. 

That said, you do have to address the hurdles that would keep someone from saying maybe. If doubts and objections linger, prospects aren’t likely to click. Natural deodorant that actually works. Silicone wedding ring - 94 year warranty. Zappos - free shipping both ways. 

  • Will prospects say maybe?
  • Or do more objections remain
  • Are there more “yeah, buts…” remaining? 

6. The Physical Reaction Test

Does your ad cause a physical reaction? Ultimately we don’t take action without some emotion driving us. I heard an interview with BJ Novak who played Ryan on NBC’s hit show The Office. He was also a writer for the show. He said that good humor causes a physical reaction. You can’t help it. You smile, you blush, you shake your head, you spew out your coffee. Standup comedians are looking for reactions. The worst thing for a comedian is no reaction. Even a groan or a wince or a boo can be OK. Almost anything is better than no reaction. 

As you show your ad to your prospects, ask these questions. Does it inspire me to lean forward? Did my heart rate increase a bit with excitement? Did I laugh? Did I feel something? Did I feel a need to click? Not just a maybe I’ll click, but almost an irresistible urge. No? Then dial up the emotion in your ad. 

Humor causes a physical reaction. While you may want to avoid humor, here’s an interesting example. A former client ran a video ad that had a Trump joke in it. It wasn’t really pro Trump or anti-Trump. Some loved it, some hated it. But it caused a physical reaction. We saw it when we screened it to live audiences. And the ad did better than a version without the Trump joke. You may want to avoid political humor (most companies should). But this was a good reminder that causing a physical reaction usually increases clicks and likely conversions too.

7. The Missouri Test

I live in Missouri. We’re known as the Show Me state. Our state animal is the mule. Charming, right? 

I guess we just won’t believe anything unless we see it with our own eyes. 

But when it comes to claims made in ads, we’re all Missourians at heart. You gotta show us. Don’t just tell. Don’t make us draw our own conclusions (they will likely not be favorable to you). Show us. 

Show before and after photos and videos. Show the product in action. Show a mix of user generated content and polished photography and videography. Talking head videos are usually just OK. Talking heads are telling. Great ads show. 

So, how did your ad do? Did it pass all of the tests? Did it fail more than 1? Then it’s likely time to put a little more work in before you put your ad on the internet stage. If your ad did pass all the tests, there’s still one, all important test it has to pass - the marketplace test. Meaning, you have to put your money where your mouth is and test the ad. Ultimately no one decides if your ad or offer is good except the market. 

Amazon Ads

Unlocking the Power of Amazon Brand Registry

Whether you’re an established brand or you’re launching a whole new brand, building your brand presence and maintaining your brand message on Amazon should be a top priority.

Amber Norell
February 24, 2022
Marketing
Amazon Brand Management

Over the years, the primary focus of Amazon sellers has rapidly shifted from cranking out products and seeing what sticks to building brands with longevity. Amazon quickly followed suit with a complete range of brand-building features and programs exclusive to brand-registered sellers. But even for the most seasoned brands, many new to Amazon are still left with the question - “Where do I get started?” In this blog post, OMG’s Amazon team breaks down brand registry for you along with our favorite features:

What’s Required for Amazon Brand Registry?

You’ll just need a few things to get started:

  • A Brand Registry account linked to your Seller Central account
  • Your Brand Name
  • The Trademark Office where your trademark is live and on the principal registry
  • Your Trademark Registration Number
  • Your Brand’s Website
  • Images of your Products
  • Business Name
  • Business Address
  • EIN
  • You will likely also be required to provide a valid passport ID or further identification

How Do I Get Brand Registered on Amazon?


Getting started with Brand Registry is simple once you have your Seller Account in place. Simply ensure you have a brand registry account set up under the same email as your seller account at brandregistry.amazon.com.

 

Then, once you are logged in, select “Manage” -  “Enroll a brand”.



On the next page, select “Enroll your brand” and you’ll be prompted to provide your Brand info, Seller and Business information and Distribution specific info.

How Long Does It Take to Get Amazon Brand Registered?

After that, you’ll wait up to 2 weeks for approval. Once you received a notification that you’ve been approved, double check that access to all brand features are available in your Seller Central account. 

In some cases, it may take up to 72 hours after approval for brand features to properly map to your account. If you find that anything is still missing after 72 hours, follow the prompts to log a case and request access through Amazon support.

Can I Get Brand Registered on Amazon without a Trademark?

 The short answer is, no. Until you have a trademark fully registered on the principal registry and in the “LIVE” state, Amazon will not accept your brand registry submission. However, Amazon does have a convenient IP Accelerator program that grants you expedited access to brand features in as little as 14 days by using one of Amazon’s preferred law firms within their partner network.

For those of you who just recently filed your trademark or have yet to even file, this can save anywhere from 12-18 months of waiting for access. The only requirement with this program is that the trademark MUST be filed through an attorney participating in the IP Accelerator program. Therefore, if you’ve already filed and you want immediate access, you’ll need to refile.

How can I maximize Amazon Brand Registry?


Outside of the added control Amazon brand registry offers by enabling you to enforce trademark violations and remove unauthorized sellers, claiming your brand on Amazon also unlocks an entire suite of valuable brand-exclusive features. We’ve narrowed down our Top 5 favorite brand features to get you started:


Sponsored Brand & Sponsored Brand Video Campaigns


Take your brand awareness and defense strategy to the next level on Amazon with these two brand-exclusive ad placements.

 

Hone in on a selection of products with customized copy and lifestyle imagery in a Sponsored Brand campaign on top of, alongside or within shopping results. One of the most aspirational Sponsored Brand placements is prime real estate and displays at the very top of Amazon search results:



For those brands with an archive of great video assets, Sponsored Brand Video campaigns can be nested prominently within search results, on product pages and on competitor pages:


A+ Content


A+ Content is by far one of our favorite ways to amplify product display pages. Not only does it allow sellers to better educate customers on complex products and pull in lifestyle imagery, it also takes up a massive amount of real estate pushing competitors further down your page and away from the “Add to Cart” button.

 

With plenty of module options, you can leverage A+ content for improved conversion, upselling and cross-selling products and enhancing your brand defense with helpful sections like a comparison chart:



Amazon Storefronts


Use your Amazon Storefront to neatly organize your products for customers higher in the funnel who may be browsing. Implementing even a basic Amazon storefront has major benefits as your brand name will map directly to your brand exclusive storefront rather than search results for your brand name filled with competitors.

 

Use your storefront to segment product collections, highlight deals and provide additional customer education through shoppable images and videos:



Vine


As you may already know, on Amazon, reviews are king. So, when it comes to launching products on the marketplace, your initial review strategy is crucial in setting up your product for success.

 

Even the most established brands can struggle with obtaining those initial 5 or so reviews which sets the tone for sales velocity, ranking, conversion rate and ad performance. That’s why we love that registered brands have access to Amazon’s network of trusted Vine reviewers.

 

Once you are in the “Vine” dashboard, it’s as easy as entering your ASIN and selecting “Begin Enrollment”:



As of October 12, 2021, Amazon has updated fees for enrollment from free to $200 per parent ASIN. However, there is still tremendous value in launching with Vine particularly on variations with multiple child ASINs.

 

With the Vine program you can enroll up to a quantity of 30 units of product per parent ASIN. Eligible parent ASINs must have available FBA inventory and less than 30 total reviews on page. Based on past launches, high demand products without any ongoing, repeat complaints tend to be the best candidates for the Vine program. That being said, put your best foot (and established products) forward when testing Vine.


Brand Analytics, Amazon Attribution & Brand Metrics


While still in beta, the reporting available under Brand Analytics and Brand Insights are incredible for companies who crave data. From being able to dig deeper into “Amazon Search Terms” to breaking down your customers “Repeat Purchase Behavior” and conducting a “Market Basket Analysis”, Brand Analytics has a wealth of brand specific data that can be turned into actionable items for growth like bundling products that are frequently purchased together:




Brand Analytics also gives you direct access to “Amazon Attribution” which enables you to track sales off Amazon through trackable links. Plus, thanks to Amazon’s new “Brand Referral Bonus” program, brands using Amazon Attribution to successfully drive sales through external traffic qualify for a referral fee of up to 10% which can help offset costly FBA and advertising fees.

 

In addition to Brand Analytics, the newer “Brand Metrics” feature in the Advertising dashboard is another one of our favorite resources for brand data. While still a work in progress, Brand Metrics delivers a drilldown of metrics that are hyper specific to your category, something which was previously only available through advertising reps to top tier sellers.

 

Overall, Amazon’s Brand Registry process is straightforward and as you can see, unleashes a range of awesome features that’ll take your brand to the next level on Amazon!

Google Ads

How iOS 14 Impacted Google Ads in 2021

Apple took a major step in addressing privacy concerns with it’s iOS 14 update. So, what did Apple actually change to improve privacy, and how did this impact digital advertisers?

Matt Slaymaker
February 10, 2022
Marketing
Google Ads

In case you are new to digital marketing; or you have been living in a cave for the past year; or maybe you’re just trying to understand what is happening with your tracking, we hope to demystify the issue with conversion tracking. Apple’s release of iOS 14 came with limited tracking visibility into Safari browser and forced iOS apps to ask permission from users for various tracking capabilities. In addition, Facebook updated its platform to allow a maximum (and default) attribution window of “7-day click-through / 1-day view-through” for tracking. (link) These two acts of self-imposed regulation launched online advertising into a new paradigm, limiting visibility into data and performance for a very significant portion of the digital marketing landscape.


If all of this sounds like “garbally gook” or “technical jargon,” we wouldn’t blame you. You might be wondering what the big deal is. Or why can’t the data nerds be left to worry about it. Why do sellers need to stay up on how big tech is rolling back conversion tracking data? 


Media budgets rely on the use of data to inform digital advertising performance. For the past few years, big tech has spoiled us in our ability to track and analyze data to see where sales were coming from. Now they are limiting that visibility we once enjoyed. Those days will likely never return, at least not in the same way, whereby big tech platforms readily supply marketers with that data. Digital marketing teams will now have to take matters into their own hands, to understand the best allocation of media and marketing dollars.


This article aims to address two questions:

  • How iOS updates affected Google Ads?
  • What can merchants do to help interpret data in a post iOS 14.5 world?

iOS 14 — Why Did Apple Take This Step?


For most Apple users, iOS updates have historically been relatively mundane. Updates usually included security improvements, updated aesthetics, bug fixes, and so on. iOS 14 was a different story, with the updates being noticeable for users and advertisers alike.


What was different about iOS 14 as compared to previous updates? According to Apple, the goal of their iOS 14 updates was to “improve user transparency and control over how apps access your location, photos, microphone, and camera”. Through this update, Apple is addressing a chief concern that a majority of the population have been expressing - a lack of privacy in terms of their data, and who has access to that data.


How significant of any issue is privacy for the general population? According to Pew Research polls, privacy is a major concern for many Americans:

​​

Ponder those results for a bit. A whopping 81% of Americans expressed concern about the fact that they have little to no control over the data that companies collect. Another 81% said that they felt that the risks of these companies collecting their data outweighed the benefits. 79% said that they are concerned about how the data is being used, and 59% expressed concern about their lack of knowledge in terms of how companies are using their data. 


Axios polls revealed similar concerns among the population. Most poll respondents (78%) said they feel they are targeted in online ads based on their web activity. And 50% said they think they're targeted for online ads based on their offline conversations. While it is unquestionably a good thing for both users and advertisers to have ads that a user receives be more relevant to the user’s interests; most users do not like to feel like they are being watched and tracked at all times. The problem is not the ads, the problem is the lack of control of what happens with their data.


Apple took a major step in addressing these concerns with its iOS update. So, what did Apple actually change to improve privacy?


iOS 14 - The Most Significant Changes


Apple’s iOS update included several significant components centered around privacy and transparency. Let’s start with the big one.


App Tracking Transparency 

App Tracking Transparency lets the user control which apps are allowed to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites for ads or sharing with data brokers. While the name may not ring a bell, all Apple users are likely familiar with this pop-up whenever logging into an app after iOS 14:

If you choose Ask App Not to Track, the app developer can’t access the system advertising identifier (IDFA), which is often used to track. The app is also not permitted to track your activity using other information that identifies you or your device, like your email address.


As you can imagine, many users are now opting to not share their data. According to data from Flurry Analytics, the overwhelming majority of US users chose to not share their data with apps - with opt-in rates as low as 6%. This shook up advertising in a very significant way, across Google and Facebook alike - causing significant declines in performance from advertising. Why was this the case? Advertising platforms build “segments” of users based on their behavior across the web. If a user were to engage with apps about dogs; visit websites about dogs; and watch videos online about how to train their dog - the advertising platform can be reasonably certain that that user would fit nicely into the “Dog Lovers” or “Dog Owners” audience. Now, let’s say that the advertising platform can only see 4% of those web/app interactions. The amount of confidence that it now has that the user fits into the “Dog Owner” audience is quite a bit lower, meaning advertisers aren’t able to serve their ads to the most relevant audience.


App privacy details on the App Store

In the App Store, on each app’s product page, users can learn about some of the data types the app may collect, and whether that data is linked to them or used to track them.

This enhanced transparency gives the user greater confidence, and addresses the concern from the poll mentioned earlier in this article, “59% expressed concern about their lack of knowledge in terms of how companies are using their data”. Users now have more knowledge about the types of data an app wants to track, which informs their decision to not only download the app, but to opt-in or to not opt-in to tracking.


Additional Privacy Controls 

In addition to the above shakeups to privacy and transparency, Apple has also made some of the following updates:

  • A recording indicator is now displayed whenever an app has access to the microphone or camera - addressing the concern of “​​50% said they think they're targeted for online ads based on their offline conversations” - whether this was truly happening or not.
  • Approximate location can now be shared with an app, rather than sharing your precise location
  • Limited Photos library access gives you the option to share only selected photos with an app whenever an app asks for access
  • App and web developers can now offer the option for you to upgrade your existing accounts to Sign in with Apple

iOS 14 — What Was The Impact on Google Ads?


Impact on Reporting

If a user doesn’t want to offer their activity and behavior information to an app (we will use Duolingo, the language-learning app, as an example), they will opt-out of tracking which, as we saw earlier in this article, is the vast majority of users. Let’s say that the user rejected tracking, continued into the app to polish up their Spanish skills, clicked on an ad that they received after their lesson, and then proceeded to buy the product. Because they rejected tracking in the first place, the conversion event isn’t linked back to the campaign that served the ad. As a result, your campaign’s performance will not look as good as it could, not because it is seeing poor performance, but because conversions are not being properly attributed to the campaign. A campaign that previously would have gotten 10 conversions per week may then see this decline to 3 or 4, depending on the opt-in rate for tracking. This leads to the issue of optimizing campaigns on incomplete data. A Google advertiser might end up pausing or reducing the budget of a campaign that is performing really well in actuality because they aren’t seeing over half of the conversion events that came through.


As a result of the problem of “missing data” - the use of third-party tracking tools grew in importance as a means of “triangulating” the advertising data. Relying solely on Google Ads for performance reporting is no longer as reliable as it previously was, so we encourage businesses to explore 3rd party tracking tools such as Northbeam, Glew, Wicked Reports or Rockerbox


Impact on Performance

For the most part, Search Campaigns seemed to be unaffected by the iOS 14 update. This makes sense, as these campaigns target keywords, rather than a user based on their interests and affinities. At OMG Commerce, we saw Search Campaigns see the same conversion rates after iOS 14 as they did before iOS 14.


Shopping Campaigns saw more significant decreases in performance, in part due to their ability to show on the Display Network (seen below). Due to more limited tracking, the ability for Shopping Ads to perform well on the Display Network declined, with conversion rates declining by 30% on those platforms for Standard Shopping campaigns. Conversion rates for Shopping campaigns that showed in Google Search remained unchanged.


Display and Discovery campaigns seemed to be relatively unaffected, for most of our accounts - due to proactive planning and adjustments along the way to maximize performance. YouTube campaigns saw decreased performance for Top of Funnel targeting, while Remarketing saw similar performance pre and post iOS 14.


iOS 14 and Beyond - Solutions for Businesses


While Google Ads saw some slight hiccups as a result of the iOS 14 update, Google seems to have emerged relatively unscathed, unlike platforms such as Facebook.


If you are looking to get started with Google Ads, Search Campaigns and Shopping campaigns limited to the Search Network (excluding Display Network and YouTube from your campaign settings) should perform just as well as they always have. Display, Discovery, and YouTube remarketing campaigns continue to perform well, while Top of Funnel campaigns may see mixed performance, depending on your audience and the type of targeting you are looking to utilize.


We strongly encourage you to consider utilizing a third-party tracking platform to ensure that each advertising channel is getting the credit that it deserves (not too much, and not too little). We see these tools as one added set of information, to be used alongside Google Analytics and in platform data (the data in your Google Ads or Facebook account). Through triangulation of the data found in these tools, a merchant can begin to analyze performance. And can make an informed decision on where to shift media and marketing dollars. As of the writing of this article, our recommendation is Northbeam.io and Glew, due to its user-friendly interface and accurate reporting, which our clients have been very pleased with to this point.


Additionally, the change in availability of third-party data due to iOS 14 means that it is more important than ever to have strong first-party data. We suggest that businesses gather as much data as possible through social media, their websites, email campaigns, surveys, and more. As you gather first-party data, you can use this to construct Similar-To Audiences and Customer Lists.


All of these updates can be daunting for any business owner. OMG Commerce was able to navigate through iOS 14 without significant decreases in performance due to an emphasis on planning, communication, and constant improvement. To learn how OMG Commerce can help your business navigate through the current environment, click “Let’s Talk!” in our navigation. Good luck in 2022!


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not represent OMG Commerce as a whole.


Google Ads

How to Use Dynamic & Standard Remarketing to Maximize Online Sales

Thinking about adding remarketing to your Google Ads strategy? We’ve successfully grown hundreds of brands thanks to effective ad remarketing, and we can do the same for you.

Matt Slaymaker
November 18, 2021
Google Ads
Marketing

About the Google Display Network & Remarketing

The Google Display Network has the largest reach of any display network in the world. Approximately 90% of global internet users are reached by Google’s Display Network, including 94% of all US internet users. Of these users, 64% are reached every day. Remarketing on the Google Display Network is a crucial pillar for any digital marketing strategy, allowing you to reach your previous website visitors virtually wherever they go on the internet. In this article, we will be exploring two types of Google Display remarketing types, dynamic remarketing and standard remarketing.

What is Standard Remarketing?

Standard remarketing allows a brand to show static or responsive display ads to past visitors of your website as they browse websites and apps on the Display Network. These ads feature headlines, descriptions and images - hand selected by the advertiser to deliver a particular message to the advertiser’s remarketing audience.

What is Dynamic Remarketing?

Dynamic remarketing is a form of remarketing that allows you to show ads to past visitors of any products or services that they viewed on your site. Unlike standard remarketing, the advertiser does not select which images, headlines, or descriptions will be displayed to the user as the ad is automatically tailored to the individual user’s behavior on the website.

When Should You Use Standard Remarketing?

Standard remarketing is likely the form of remarketing that most brands are familiar with when it comes to Google Ads. For standard remarketing, you start by sorting website visitors into lists based on their activity on your website. For example, common ways you could sort your website visitors could include:

  1. All Website Visitors - Any and all website visitors, this is your largest possible remarketing list.
  2. Product Page Viewers - Visitors who navigated to your website’s product pages to learn more about a particular product.
  3. All Purchasers - Visitors who purchased a product from your website.
  4. Product X Purchasers - Visitors who purchased a specific product from your website. 
  5. Cart Abandoners - Visitors who added an item to their cart, but did not complete their purchase. 

These different types of audiences have varying levels of intent. For example, a cart abandoner is much closer to purchasing your product than someone who simply visited your website and did not take any action. The way that we will deliver our ads to these users will also need to vary. This is where standard remarketing is beneficial. Standard remarketing ads allow advertisers to craft their messaging to fit a user’s level of purchase intent at the time. 

If your goal is to build brand awareness and long-term consideration, you might show ads to people who have visited any of your pages, highlighting your brand’s differentiating factors or the problem that your products help solve. This form of remarketing can be useful in keeping your brand in people’s minds so that when they eventually decide to make a purchase for products like yours, your brand will be at the top of their minds.

On the other hand, perhaps your goal with your remarketing campaign is to drive efficient conversions. In this situation, you could target users who previously purchased one of your products such as deodorant or body wash, and deliver them an ad about one of your products that they have not purchased yet, such as sunscreen.

Brand loyalty is a strong force, and targeting those who already love your brand is a great place to start when looking to drive conversions at a low cost-per-acquisition.

Maybe you have just launched a new product and you want to make sure that everyone who has previously purchased from your brand is aware, so that they can check it out and make a purchase if interested. In this case, you could craft your messaging to this situation as seen below:


Well-timed targeting and messaging tailored to where the user is in their purchase journey are the primary reasons why standard remarketing should be utilized for any business.

When Should You Use Dynamic Remarketing?

When users research products or services on your site, but leave without converting, you can use Dynamic Remarketing to show the products that they indicated interest in to them as they visit other sites on the Google Display Network. These types of ads allow you to tap into a recent interest, or reawaken an older interest, and drive conversions for users actively showing interest in your products.

Creating dynamic remarketing ads requires a product feed in Google Merchant Center. Once you create a basic .csv, .tsv, .xls, or .xlsx feed, simply connect the feed to your Display Remarketing campaign in the campaign’s settings: 

From there, the Google Ads product recommendation engine will pull those products from your feed, determining the best mix of products for each ad based on popularity and what the visitor viewed on your site. Google Ads then predicts which dynamic ad layout is likely to perform best for the person, placement, and platform where the ad will show.

We have seen Dynamic Display Ads work best for brands who have a wide variety of products, and multiple variations of those products. If your brand only sells 1-3 products, then Dynamic Remarketing may not be too beneficial. However, if your brand sells more than 10 product variants, then the ability to serve ads that feature the specific products a user showed interest in becomes incredibly powerful. 

Some of the potential downsides of dynamic remarketing ads include:

  • Less Control Over Creative - While advertisers can control which products will be allowed to show on dynamic remarketing ads; the order and layout in which they will display is entirely in the hands of Google. 
  • They Don’t Provide Much of a Message - As you can see from some of the above examples, there is not much in the form of messaging when it comes to dynamic display ads. If you want to deliver a specific message to a specific type of audience, then dynamic display ads may not be the best option.
  • As a Result, They Are Less Effective for Branding Campaigns - If your goal is generating general brand awareness and consideration, then you will likely want more control over your creative and messaging. 

Using Both Standard and Dynamic Remarketing To Maximize Sales

As discussed above, there are particular scenarios where standard remarketing may be better for a brand than dynamic remarketing, and vice-versa. However, for most ecommerce brands, utilizing both dynamic and standard remarketing is necessary to fully maximize your ability to recapture, upsell, cross-sell and drive consideration from your website visitors. 

When it comes to users who viewed your website’s product pages or service pages, we recommend utilizing dynamic remarketing to re-engage the user with the products that they are most likely to engage with, based on their previous behavior. When it comes to delivering a specific message, building awareness, or highlighting a particular product, we recommend utilizing standard remarketing (responsive display ads and stto have greater control over your creative and messaging - so as to ensure that you are reaching the right user, at the right time, with the right message.

Thinking about adding remarketing to your Google Ads strategy?  We’ve successfully grown hundreds of brands thanks to effective ad remarketing, and we can do the same for you. Request a free strategy session today!

Amazon Ads

How To Crush It On Amazon - Packaging, Prep & Labeling for Amazon FBA

The only thing more frustrating than going down the Seller Support rabbit hole is learning you’ve wracked up costly fees and created countless delays due to a packaging mistake.

Amber Norell
November 11, 2021
Amazon Ads
Amazon Brand Management
Marketing

Packaging, Prep & Labeling Requirements for Amazon FBA

Before you start selling on Amazon, you’ll need to get your products packaged and ready to go. Having a strategy in place for packaging, prep, and labeling is critical to your success on Amazon. Poor packaging can result in a range of negative consequences including bad reviews, lost inventory, and even blocked shipments. Here’s what you need to know:

Packaging

General Guidelines

  • Amazon stipulates that any product sent to a fulfillment center with packaging that is inadequate or non-compliant may be refused, returned, or repackaged at your expense.
  • All parts and pieces sold as an individual unit must be contained within a single, secure package, including items sold as sets.
  • Units that are contained in non-secure packaging, such as loose sleeves or pouches, must also be bagged or secured with a non-adhesive band or removable tape.


Boxed Products

  • Boxed packages must be six-sided.
  • The opening or lid of a box must not easily open on its own. Tape, glue, or staples must be used to keep it closed if it opens easily.
  • Boxes must be able to withstand medium pressure applied to any of its sides.
  • Boxes with perforated sides or openings must be able to withstand a 3-foot drop test (one drop on each side and one drop on a corner).
  • Boxes that do not withstand the drop test have to also be enclosed in a poly bag with a suffocation warning

Over-boxing

  • Over-boxing may be required for certain products with safety concerns in regards to shipping or handling.
  • The practice of over-boxing requires placing a product that is prepared or packaged in a box for additional protection, regardless of whether or not that item is already boxed. 
  • Double-wall corrugated boxes should be used for over-boxing on products over 10 lb.
  • The following items are subject to over-boxing requirements:
  • Sharp items that can puncture packaging.
  • Fragile items with bubble wrap applied that couldn’t withstand the 3-foot drop test.
  • Items that could be easily damaged during shipping or handling.
  • Glass containers that exceed 4.2 oz and carry hazardous liquids.
  • Vinyl records.

Use of Hangers

  • Most normal-size hangers must be removed from apparel.
  • Mini-hangers used for packaging such as those for baby clothes are allowed.
  • Accessories, Bras, Hats, Shorts, Sock, Hosiery, Sweaters, Swimwear, and Underwear are prohibited from the use of any type of hanger.
  • The following items are exceptions and must remain on a hanger:
  • Blazers, Suit Jackets, and Suits.
  • Dresses with a list price exceeding $299.99 per unit.
  • Formal or evening wear or garments that contain materials that could be damaged when laid flat (garments with intricate beading, sequins, or other detailing). 
  • Outerwear with a list price exceeding $299.99 per unit.
  • Items whose primary material is real leather, real fur or wool.
  • Pants, shirts, skirts, and sleepwear with a list price exceeding $299.99 per unit.

Case-Packed Products

  • All products within a box are required to have matching SKUs and conditions and must  have been packaged by the manufacturer.
  • All boxes in a case that contain the same product must have equal quantities of a product in each box (ex: All 2 Packs must contain 2).
  • Alternatively, Individual Products that are not case-packed may contain various products  with differing quantities and conditions.
  • Cases are subject to a case pack limit of 150 units per case.
  • When receiving a case, the fulfillment center only scans one unit in each case.
  • If manufacturers pack excess units into a larger box, this cannot be shipped as a case. Products must be separated and repacked at the appropriate case-pack level.
  • Scannable barcodes from the case must be removed or covered. Only the individual units within the case may have scannable barcodes.

Packaging Safety

  • To ensure the safety of customers and prevent serious injury, use safety knives and covered blades during the packing process to prevent sharp objects from accidentally being  left in packaging.

Prep

General Guidelines

  • Amazon warns that inventory shipped to a fulfillment center that is not properly prepped and labeled may incur additional preparation fees.
  • When products fall under multiple categories, they must be prepped to meet the conditions of all categories.
  • Theft-prevention devices are prohibited and must not be attached to products.
  • All FNSKUs must be unique and correspond to one unique product. Variations must all be assigned their own unique FNSKU.

Prepping Products in Sets

  • Loose items sold in a set must be marked as a set on the packaging. The unit should indicate that the product is sold as a set.
  • Items in a set should not only be marked as a set but also combined and sealed in order to prevent loose items from being separated.
  • If a set contains items that have their own unique ASINs assigned to them, the set should still have it’s own unique ASIN assigned to it. 
  • Any ASINs on individual items within a set should not be outwardly visible and will need to be covered.

Prepping with Poly Bags

  • When using poly bags, a suffocation warning must either be printed on the bag or attached as a label if the bag has a 5-inch opening or larger (measured flat). Failure to apply this warning may lead to rebagging.
  • The warning should be prominently printed or placed in a legible font size suitable to the size of the bag. Amazon’s size requirement are as follows:

Total length plus width of bag         Minimum print size

60 inches or more                              24 point

40 to 59 inches                                   18 point

30 to 39 inches                                   14 point

Less than 29 inches                           10 point

  • The bag must be at least 1.5 mil thick.
  • The poly bag must also be transparent.
  • A scannable barcode (UPC, EAN, etc) or X00-label must either be scannable through the bag or have an X00- or ASIN label on the outside of the bag.
  • Bags must be completely sealed.
  • Poly bags or shrink wrap must not protrude more than 3 inches past the dimensions of the product.
  • Black, opaque poly bagging or shrink wrap must be used on adult products.
  • Products with strong scents (candles, incense, etc) must be sealed or bagged to prevent the scent from absorbing into other products.

Prepping with Bubble Wrap

  • When using bubble wrap, products must be tightly wrapped and taped closed so that product doesn’t come loose.
  • Products must have scannable barcodes on the outside.
  • Packaging must be able to withstand a 3-foot drop test on a hard surface without contents breaking or becoming damaged.
  • The drop test will include 5 drops: Flat on the base and top, Flat on the longest and shortest sides and on a corner.
  • Bubble wrap may be required for fragile products that can be easily damaged during transit or heavy or dense products that can damage other products during transit.

Prepping Products with Expiration Dates

  • If products have expiration dates, additional prepwork may be required such as poly-bagging or bubble-wrapping.
  • Expiration dates must be accessible and labeled on the outside of the product prep or packaging.
  • The required formats for expiration dates are MM-DD-YYYY or MM-YYYY. Products using any other format of expiration date are subject to stickers being applied with the correct format covering the original expiration label.
  • Expiration dates must be displayed on the outer box in 36-point or larger font on individual units.
  • Using only lot numbers is not sufficient for expiration date requirements.
  • Products with expiration dates may require additional prep, such as poly bags or bubble wrap.
  • Expiration dates must be accessible during check-in and labeled on the outside of any prep or packaging.
  • Perishable items are prohibited.

Prepping Products with Tape

  • Extra tape may be required for items that need boxes or poly bags sealed or bubble wrap secured around them.
  • Some instances that may require extra tape are the following:

              --Product may slip out of packaging if the container is not taped close.

               --Product may leak if the lid is not secured with tape.

              --Container is not fully sealed.

Labeling

General Guidelines

  • The exterior of each unit must be equipped with a scannable barcode or label. This must include both the scannable barcode and the corresponding numbers associated with that barcode.
  • Any existing scannable barcodes on the outside of shipping boxes must be ​​removed, covered, or rendered unscannable. Using opaque tape or a black felt-tip marker are acceptable methods for rendering the barcode unscannable. 
  • Not labeling boxes with the required FBA box ID label can result in all future shipments being blocked, as well as a manual processing fee.
  • Labels must be able to be scanned quickly and easily at fulfillment centers otherwise you may encounter delays in your inventory being received.

Best Practices for Printing Labels

  • Printable labels in Seller Central are optimized for thermal printers. However, you may also use laser printers.
  • Inkjet printers should not be used to print labels.
  • To prevent scaling, your printer’s scaling settings should either be set to “None” or 100%.
  • Ensure you are using the correct label stock for your printer.
  • Opt for a printer with a 300 DPI resolution or better.
  • Ensure the printer head is tested, cleaned, and replaced as needed.
  • Testing your barcodes occasionally by scanning them can help ensure quality.
  • Amazon barcodes are required to be printed in black and white on non-reflective labels with removable adhesive.
  • Label dimensions must fall within 1 x 2 inches and 2 x 3 inches.

Product Labeling Guidelines

You can use one of three types of barcodes:

  • Manufacturer Barcodes (UPC or EAN)
  • Amazon Barcodes (FNSKU)
  • Transparency Labels 

Additionally, you have 3 options for labeling your products:

  • Use existing manufacturer barcodes (UPC or EAN) for eligible products.
  • Apply Amazon barcodes on prep or packaging.
  • Have Amazon’s FBA Label Service apply them for you at a cost of $0.30 per item.

When printing barcodes, ensure they include all of the following:

  • There must be sufficient white space around the Amazon barcode and text (Include margins of 0.25 inches on sides and 0.125 inches on the top and bottom).
  • ASIN or FNSKU
  • Product name
  • Item condition

When placing your barcode, make sure you do the following:

  • Place the correct barcode on every item.
  • Cover any visible barcodes except serial numbers or transparency authentication codes.
  • Place barcodes on the outermost layer of prep or packaging.
  • Don’t place barcodes on a curve or corner of packages.
  • Every item in a case pack must have an Amazon barcode.
  • Allow for a margin of 0.25 inches between the label’s edge and the packaging’s edge.

Box & Pallet Labeling Guidelines

  • Any box or pallet sent to an Amazon fulfillment center, must be identified with a unique box ID and pallet label.
  • Amazon recommends printing the full set of labels. Since they are unique, it’s important not to photocopy, reuse, or modify labels.
  • Labels support a measurement of 3 ⅓ x 4 inches. With thermal printers, the option is available to print directly on a 4 x 6 inch format by selecting thermal paper in the printing options.
  • Labels should not be placed on seams or openings to avoid damage when the box opens.
  • Both FBA box ID labels and mail carrier labels should be placed on a flat surface of the box, not folded over edges.
  • Both labels must be uncovered, scannable and readable.
  • The FBA box ID label should be printed directly from your shipment workflow.
  • Each pallet requires four labels, one on the top center of each side.
  • When shipping multiple case packs in a larger box, apply the FBA box ID to the larger box only. It is not necessary to label all individual case packs.

Marketing Materials

  • Marketing  materials are prohibited, including pre-priced labels, pamphlets, price tags, or other non-Amazon labels.

Additional Category-Specific Resources

Use the following Seller Central resources for additional, up-to-date information on category-specific regulations for Packaging, Prep & Labeling:

Amazon Packaging & Prep Guidelines

Generating Your Shipment & Printing Labels

Product Label Requirements

Shipment Label Requirements

FBA Label Service

Now that you know the basics of preparing your products for FBA, you’re ready to get your first shipment in!

Agency

3 Ways To Power Through From Uncertainty to Certainty

Do you feel it? It’s in the air. That feeling of uncertainty. You might find my process helpful. It’s simple — Rise, Eat, Pray, Read, Meditate, Pray. Power Through.

Chris Brewer
November 4, 2021
Marketing
Agency

Do you feel it? 

It’s in the air. That feeling of uncertainty. When you consider the enormous supply chain disruptions that include seemingly daily announcements of container ships stacking up along the pacific coast, inflationary pressures, political strife, and the massive impacts of iOS 14, the air is thick with uncertainty. 

Is it all doom and gloom?

I recently addressed the Founders Mastery group on this topic at a fantastic location above Huntsville, Alabama. 


The interesting thing about uncertainty is this — it’s always with us. Let’s take a quick peek back at 2020. The Covid-19 Pandemic, 2020 Election, George Floyd, and related events (remember Seattle? Defund the police?). These created enormous levels of uncertainty. You might be thinking that we haven’t always had such high levels of uncertainty. Take a quick peek back to 2015. We had Isis, the Syrian refugee crisis, and the Google Rankbrain update. I recall those causing a hand wringing level of uncertainty.


Uncertainty for entrepreneurs creates opportunities.

Take the supply chain for instance. I knew these disruptions would spur creative entrepreneurs to take action. In just the past 30 days, I’ve been invited to invest in a new supply chain, a logistics SaaS, two United States based manufacturing opportunities, and a distribution play that will allow the fading drop shipping industry, for one, to regain its relevance. 

How can we thrive in periods of uncertainty? We combat it by having an opposite mindset. I fondly remember the Seinfeld season 5, episode 22, “The Opposite.” It’s a humorous example, and it’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it. It’s an excellent example of how a shift in mindset can bring about positive change. 


I’m not recommending doing the opposite of what you think you should do every single time, but what I recommend is shifting your mindset from uncertainty to certainty.

What is certainty?

For clarity, it’s essential to define the type of certainty we’re considering. What I’m not advocating is a certainty mindset that excludes questioning, facts, and reasoning. Ellen Langer, a Yale professor dubbed the “mother of mindfulness,” states, “Certainty is a cruel mindset, and it hardens our minds against possibility.”

Certainty for our purposes is an emotion or a driver. I like how the Tony Robbins blog puts it, “Certainty is the emotion that allows us to accomplish what once seemed impossible. Our capacity to achieve, lead and serve is expanded by it, and it is a resource we can access in a moment. If you want to separate yourself from the bottom 80% of entrepreneurs and achievers, then begin by bringing ample amounts of certainty to your clients, team, and even your family.” Another way to explain it is, “Certainty doesn’t mean that you know what to do. Certainty means that you know you’re going to figure things out.” 

3 ways to bring more certainty to your endeavors and challenges.

  1. Trust Your Gut Instincts

For me, uncertainty breeds that gut feeling. I’m a huge proponent of trusting your gut instincts. I can look back at multiple gut feelings that were acted upon and led to enormous breakthroughs. I can also look back at gut feelings that weren’t acted upon that left my companies playing catch up. Of course there have been those gut feelings that utterly failed when put into practice, but in my experience, they’re in the minority. 

  1. Don’t Go It Alone

Ever heard that being an entrepreneur is lonely? I’ve definitely felt lonely as an entrepreneur. How about you? A Google search shows nearly nine million results for the keyword phrase “lonely entrepreneur.”


My eCommerce agency, OMG Commerce, now has 50 team members. Most are in our Springfield, Missouri office, and the rest of the team is spread from coast to coast. Every day I’m in the office, I can have multiple in-person conversations, yet loneliness is still a factor in my entrepreneurial journey. How can that be? 

One of the reasons might be that people don't understand what it is like to run a business. You might (like me) have a CEO or COO (in my case, both). Still, the pressures of the company and the sense of responsibility for your growing team can be substantial. Your team sacrifices much for your business. At the same time, they are marrying, having babies, and buying homes. It can wear on you as you navigate the inevitable ups and downs of client relationships, finances, and changes that are outside your control (iOS-14). Most people don't understand how an entrepreneur’s brain is wired. Those are the times when you’re not understood. How you think, how you feel, and the things you do puzzle those around you. The result can be a lonely place. 

Don’t go it alone. Communicate your challenges, fears, and uncertainties to trusted friends, fellow entrepreneurs, and advisors. Be highly cautious in how you share the above with your team. You might find it cathartic, but remember they’re not the entrepreneur and may not receive the information as you intended it. 

Don’t go it alone. Attend events, masterminds (even virtually) to regularly put yourself around fellow business owners. Your stories are not unique. If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you’ve inevitably experienced similar if not the exact circumstances as others. When you put yourself physically in front of others who have shared your journey, suddenly loneliness evaporates, and you can gain that sense of certainty that boldly proclaims, “I GOT THIS!”

  1. Read

This is a habit that I’m endeavoring to improve. Reading books on leadership, brand building, entrepreneurship, spirituality, and biographies of amazing people can spur your thinking, inspire your creativity, and equip you with the tools needed to navigate your latest (and next) set of challenges. 

I’m currently reading “Never Lose a Customer Again,” by Joey Coleman. On deck is “This Is Marketing,” by Seth Godin, and “Dare to Lead,” by Brené Brown. One habit that pairs well with reading is morning meditation, and it’s something I’ve recently hit the reset on. That practice evaporated on me during Covid and impacted my spirit and overall sense of well-being. 

You might find my process helpful. It’s simple — Rise, Eat, Pray, Read, Meditate, Pray. Power Through. Rise early enough not to feel hurried. Eat to get your body and mind moving. Pray a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude for your blessings. Read to inspire and recharge. My reading during that time happens to be from the Bible. I read a short chapter, meditate on the meaning, and think about how it might apply to my life. Pray once more based on what you felt or experienced during your time of meditation. You’ll find you’ll “Power Through” your day with this practice. 

Let me know how you’re dealing with uncertainty or your practices to bring more certainty to your entrepreneurial journey. Be well. 

Amazon Ads

FBA vs. FBM: Choosing Your Amazon Fulfillment Method

On Amazon, the bottom line is that fulfillment matters! That’s why carefully selecting the right method for your business is one of the first major steps in getting started.

Amber Norrell
October 28, 2021
Amazon Ads
Amazon Brand Management
Marketing

When it comes to Amazon, choosing your fulfillment method can make or break your brand. Everything from profitability, customer satisfaction and product availability on Amazon are affected by fulfillment. To help you get your fulfillment strategy in place, we’ve compiled this resource with everything you’ll need to know about your options. 

Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) Fulfillment

FBA is the most common method of fulfillment on Amazon in which Sellers ship in FBA inventory directly to Amazon. Amazon then handles everything from customer fulfillment to storage to customer service and returns. Here are some reasons why you may want to consider FBA:

  • If your products are not oversized or shipping costs are more efficient than what you can negotiate on your own for 2-day shipping, FBA might be for you.
  • If you are unable to manage fulfillment on your own and offer fast shipping.
  • If you want to handle customer service and returns on your own due to the nature of your product.
  • If you have a good handle on your flow of inventory with products consistently selling through available volume.
  • If you have the bandwidth and resources in place to store and pick & pack inventory.
  • If you are not concerned with the amount of time it takes to ship in inventory before starting.
  • If you have a resource who can carefully oversee inventory and handle replenishments.

Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) Fulfillment

FBM is not as widely used on its own as FBA, but is a solid alternative that gives companies flexibility which have certain business needs. When merchants fulfill Amazon orders themselves, they are accountable for picking, packing, storing, shipping, providing tracking, and handling customer service and returns. If your business falls within the following criteria, FBM may be a good fit for you:

  • If your products are oversized and will not be profitable using FBA fulfillment.
  • If your distribution center is centrally located and can offer fast, 2-day (or faster) shipping. 
  • If you prefer to handle your customer service and returns in house.
  • If your products do not sell consistently or you aren’t certain how a product will perform.
  • If you have the bandwidth and resources to store and pick & pack inventory.
  • If you want to start selling immediately and would prefer not to wait to ship in FBA inventory.
  • If you have a resource that can oversee all Amazon order fulfillment and tracking.

FBA & FBM Hybrid Fulfillment

The second most popular method is actually a hybrid of both fulfillment options offering companies the most flexibility. This is ideal for companies who have a mix of the above-mentioned specifications or find themselves falling within the following categories:

  • If your product costs are similar regardless of whether you fulfill via FBA or FBM.
  • If some of your products are proven best sellers on Amazon with steady sales while other products do smaller, less consistent volume.
  • If you are encountering issues with FBA inventory limits and can’t keep items in stock.
  • If products are running out of stock, FBM can be used as a backup offer to take over buybox whenever FBA runs out and ensure you never go out of stock.
  • If you have inventory on hand and can handle fulfillment, but prefer to open up bandwidth by moving best sellers to FBA.

When determining your fulfillment strategy there is a lot to consider, but one of the key drivers that plays a role in all three of the primary methods is profitability. For a quick and easy assessment of your potential FBA fees, try using Amazon’s FBA Calculator to better gauge which group your products fall within.

Amazon Ads

How To Crush It On Amazon - Getting Started

The hardest part of any big venture is getting started and, we’ll admit, Amazon can definitely be intimidating. We’ve put together this detailed guide to help you!

Amber Norrell
October 21, 2021
Marketing
Amazon Brand Management

The hardest part of any big venture is getting started and, we’ll admit, Amazon can definitely be intimidating. That’s why we’ve put together this detailed guide to help you navigate the initial account setup process to ensure you don’t miss anything along the way!

What You'll Need

Before you get started, you’ll need a handful of info in order to successfully open your Professional Seller account. Make sure you have the following information handy and available.

  • Tax ID
  • State Tax ID
  • A Copy of Your Driver’s License or Passport
  • Legal Business Name
  • Address 
  • Contact Name
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Credit Card
  • Payment Info (Business Account Info & Routing Number)

It’s important to note that you use a business entity, credit card and tax IDs that have never been used to open an account. Though Amazon now permits more than one seller account for separate business entities, don’t create complications for yourself by trying to create an account with a business that has been used in the past.

Also, in terms of your credit card, consider using a payment method that has a strong rewards program as you will wrack up a lot of valuable points as your brand scales. 

Things to Consider

 In addition to the basic information you’ll need to get started, you’ll also need to have a gameplan for your basic Amazon operational procedures before you start selling. Here are the top things to ask and discuss before you get started.

Customer Service

  • Do you have a dedicated person who can handle customer service inquiries?
  • Are there any common concerns with your products that your customer service rep should be aware of?
  • How will you handle dissatisfied customers? Will you offer a complimentary product or refund through the “Customer Reviews” tool?
  • Will your CS rep be able to meet Amazon’s 24-hour response time expectation, including on weekends?

Category Restrictions

  • Have you checked Amazon’s Restricted Categories to ensure that you will be able to list your product once you open your account?
  • If your product does fall into one of these categories, are you prepared to apply to sell in the category and provide the necessary documentation?

Fulfillment

  • Do you plan to use Fulfillment By Amazon, Fulfillment By Merchant, or Both?
  • If FBA, do you have a point person who can oversee inventory and handle FBA replenishment?
  • If FBM, have you negotiated best rates with your carrier and can you accomplish fast shipping (preferably 2 days or less) from your location?

Returns

  • If you plan to use FBM, where do you intend to have customers return products?

Reviews

  • Do you have a strategy in place for gathering initial reviews?
  • How do you plan to address negative feedback?

How to Set Up Your Account

After you have had a chance to gather the necessary information and get some basic operational plans in place, you’ll need to get your account set up. To do this visit Amazon and click “Sign Up”.

Next, click “Create Your Amazon Account”.


Enter your Name, Email Address, Password, and click “Next”.

Enter the OTP sent to your email address and click “Create your Amazon account”.


Select your Business Location and Business Type. Enter your Business Name, check next to the confirmation, and click “Agree and continue”.

On the following page, enter your Business Registration Number, Business Address, Phone Number, and Primary Contact Person. After validating your Phone Number, click “Next”.


Enter all required information for beneficial owners of the store and click “Save”.


Next, you will need to enter your payment information. Click “I Understand” to proceed.

Enter your Financial Institution Name, Routing Number, Account number, and click “Verify Bank Account”.

Enter your Credit Card Number, Expiration Date, Cardholder’s Name, and click “Next”.

Enter the necessary Store information and click “Next”.

Complete the Identity Verification and click “Submit”.

You will then be prompted to set up a Video Verification Call and Address Verification to complete the process. After you have completed the verifications, you will be able to access your account.